Fortress America: Gated Communities in the United States

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Brookings Institution Press, Sep 1, 1997 - Business & Economics - 208 pages

Gated communities are a new "hot button" in many North American cities. From Boston to Los Angeles and from Miami to Toronto citizens are taking sides in the debate over whether any neighborhood should be walled and gated, preventing intrusion or inspection by outsiders. This debate has intensified since the hard cover edition of this book was published in 1997. Since then the number of gated communities has risen dramatically. In fact, new homes in over 40 percent of planned developments are gated n the West, the South, and southeastern parts of the United States. Opposition to this phenomenon is growing too. In the small and relatively homogenous town of Worcester, Massachusetts, a band of college students from Brown University and the University of Chicago picketed the Wexford Village in November of 1998 waving placards that read "Gates Divide." These students are symbolic of a much larger wave of citizens asking questions about the need for and the social values of gates that divide one portion of a community from another.

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Fortress America: gated communities in the United States

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Since the late 1980s, gated communities have proliferated around the country, attracting millions of homebuyers of all ages for reasons having to do with prestige, leisure, and perceived safety. In ... Read full review

Selected pages


Forting Up
The Search for Community
Gates to Paradise Lifestyle Communities
I Have a Dream The Prestige Communities
Enclaves of Fear Security Zone Communities
You Can Run But You Cant Hide
NotSoBrave New World
Building Better Communities

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Page 15 - The police power is not confined to elimination of filth, stench, and unhealthy places. It is ample to lay out zones where family values, youth values, and the blessings of quiet seclusion, and clean air make the area a sanctuary for people.
Page 11 - No, Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life ; for there is in London all that life can afford.
Page 162 - We have repeatedly said, and we once more insist, that the great principle embodied by Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence, ' that governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed...
Page 164 - There is a mysterious cycle in human events. To some generations much is given. Of other generations much is expected. This generation of Americans has a rendezvous with destiny.
Page 9 - The old notions of community mobility are torn apart by these changes in commmunity patterns. What is the measure of nationhood when the divisions between neighborhoods require armed patrols and electric fencing to keep out other citizens? When public services and even local government are privatized, when the community of responsibility stops at the subdivision gates, what happens to the function and the very idea of democracy?
Page 177 - Mike Davis, City of Quartz: Excavating the Future in Los Angeles (New York: Vintage Books, 1992), 36-40. On Lubin, see Kevin Starr, Endangered Dreams: The Great Depression in California (New York: Oxford University Press, 1996), 231-32. On Burke, see articles in "J. Frank Burke" envelope, Los Angeles Examiner Files, HC.

About the author (1997)

Edward J. Blakely is Dean of the School of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Southern California. His previous books include Planning Local Economic Development (Sage, 1994) and Separate Societies (Temple, 1993), winner of the 1994 Paul Davidoff award for the best book in planning. Mary Gail Snyder is at the Department of City and Regional Planning at the University of California, Berkeley.

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